Tonight I am the keynote speaker to a group of high school students attending a one day conference on transitioning from high school to post-secondary. As you know I have just completed a book on this topic. It is so relevant that when I sat down to write a speech it flowed fairly easily. I have been doing so much writing so I did have a brain freeze but that passed quickly.

I am excited because I do have a message for the kids. First is that they must be proactive and ask a lot of questions. I want them to walk away tonight understanding the social and economic landscape that exists: youth unemployment, youth underemployment (huge problem in Canada) and the skills mismatch which is a huge issue and will impact the lives of not only the youth but all Canadians and can have a tremendous impact on our standard of living and economic growth – and how to navigate and be successful when choosing their school, program and courses. I encourage them to research what are the skill sets that employers will be looking for in the next 5-10 years. I want them to be aware of their return on investment for education. In other words, will their degree/diploma or certificate give them the skills needed for today’s modern economy and job vacancies. Will they find a meaningful full-time job that will give them the money to pay down any student loan they incur from their education? How are they going to pay for their education that can cost approximately $84,000 for a 4 year program? This does not consider the cost of a Masters or PhD. A larger question is do they need this level of education for the job vacancies? Some will, many will not. In fact, most youth today are overeducated for the jobs they are finding. Some do not even require post-secondary.

I also want the kids to know that the looming youth crisis that is present can change and they can be part of the change. I am here to plant seeds, guide our youth to speak up and speak out.

I do not want our kids to buy into the belief that with a good education comes a good job. Tonight is about awareness. From awareness comes clarity and allows them to make good decisions for themselves.

I will leave them with a one sheet of 7 tips to assist when transitioning between high school and post-sencondary and hope – a forthcoming handbook that can assist in this process, right through to the workplace and a call to action to ask any youth in the audience to come forward and be part of a group of youth advocates challenging the systems and creating solutions for change.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

All my love,


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